As a matter of faith, some people believe that God can see and hear everything. But as a matter of fact, the U.S. government now has the kind of surveillance powers formerly attributed only to a supreme being.
Snowden, in a larger sense, in a good way, doesn't matter as a person. What matters is what he has revealed to us about a national security state that has clearly gone quite insane, violating our liberty and our freedom to live without unwarranted search and seizure of our private lives.
The Secretary of Defense sternly warned Defense Department employees Thursday that the government will scour news reports for leaks of classified information, try to unmask the leakers, and refer cases to the Justice Department -- which has the power to prosecute.
The idea is, NSA only tells Congress what it wants them to hear, and Congress will just have to figure out what it really knows. The problem is, how will Congress find something unless it knows what it's looking for and where to find it?
Former NSA senior official Thomas Drake is a whistleblower. Through legal and proper channels, he disclosed massive corruption, gross waste and mismanagement to tune of billions of taxpayer dollars, and widespread illegal domestic surveillance.
The honor of a prize for those "who speak truth to power" is ironically unfortunate. The need to speak such truth at all, to illustrate how selfish profit motives too frequently take precedence over the health care needs of real people, remains a tragedy.
When we met with him yesterday, President Obama did something remarkable: He said the issue of transparency in government is incredibly difficult, and he asked us to work with his office to improve the status quo.